i met dan for lunch at bartley's in harvard square. we tried going there for lunch about a month ago, but it was insanely crowded. it wasn't so crowded today. it was the first time for the both of us. having heard good things about its world famous burgers, we both ordered the restaurant's specialty. dan, having just recently returned from spending the holidays down in brazil, told me about his travel, living on a farm with tree-sleeping peacocks, crazy dark nights, hidden beaches that only natives know how to get to, monkeys as pets, and cheap brazilian everything. when our orders came, we ate. i thought the burger was okay, a little small for my taste (2.5" diameter), the price is definitely inflated because of the "world famous" status. the interior was interesting though, full of various memorabilias, half boston related, half just weird (inflated dinosaurs, elvis heads).

we paid up and left, spending some time further down the street at the games people play store. with nothing to do for the rest of the day, dan came back with me to my place to watch some good day live (my favorite afternoon news show), uncensored jerry springer highlights, and to check his e-mails. around 3pm my mother and sister came by. we dropped off dan back in harvard square, and the rest of us went to saugus to check out a few furniture stores.

first stop was the salvation army thrift store. i didn't find any hidden treasures, and they were closing soon, so i left without buying anything. next, bob's discount furniture (right next door). i've been to most of the big furniture stores in the greater boston area except for bob's. i've seen their commercials on television, and some of their stuff looked good, so i curious to see it for myself. i figured it'd be very "building 19" since the prices are amazingly cheap (relatively in comparison with other sofa prices - sofas are still expensive to begin with), but the first thing you see when you come to the bob's in saugus is a beautiful marble fountain, the kind that you'd find in a fancy hotel or casino. this place by far had the cheapest furnitures i've ever seen. i think they're able to stay in business because they have a policy of requiring a 30% down payment on any furniture you want buy, and it's not refundable. also while we were there, we were shadowed by a salesman who was giving us the hard sell. he was also talking to my sister more than me, maybe he thought she was the decision maker, which got me kind of annoyed. i did see one collection that looked really good, and red was one of the colors it came in, but the price for the set was so inexpensive because the workmanship wasn't that great. not to say that the other furniture were also of an inferior quality, but just so happened the one i liked, i couldn't see it wasn't worth the money. there was a purple sofa that i really liked when i came in, and that one was of a better quality, but it's just way to big to fit inside my house. after thanking the salesman and getting his business card, we left.

bernie & phyl's was next, my 4th time at one of their stores, my first time at this particular one in saugus. they have a different policy when it comes to their furniture. no down payment, buy anything, if it doesn't fit in the house, return it for full refund, the only cost is the $25/item delivery charge. they weren't as hard sell, which is what i like. somebody asked if i needed any help, i said i was just looking, they left me alone. maybe the salespeople work on a different system at bernie & phyl's versus bob's. after much looking, i settled on the microfiber suede collection of couches (the cardinal foxtrot that i loved so much is just too big for my place, besides, it has low floor clearance). the one that i might decide to get i didn't get a photo of (although you can see it on the b&p website). it doesn't have the legs i want, but it's 2.5" ground clearance is high enough for the heating vent in my living room. it also doesn't have the wide wings, but that only means i'll have an easier time getting it into the house. i goldilocked when i picked it, not the biggest sofa, but not the smallest one either, it's just right, big enough to sit three people, or maybe just one lazy landlord. i was adamant in my choice of cardinal red, but coming back home, i think the red could potentially be a mistake. having that one spot of red failure painting the kitchen walls, i'm afraid to trust my color instincts. instead, i might go with an olive (although when i saw it, it looked like a shade of grey to me), which definitely goes with the apple green walls of the living room. the great thing about b&p is if i order it within the next few days, i can get it the next day or definitely sometime this month, since all their furniture are already made (versus a custom job, where i'd have to wait a few months for the upholstering).

we left saugus, returned to belmont, where i had dinner with my parents and sister, before my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. it was weird, i couldn't wait to leave belmont. i feel agitated when i'm there now, because there really isn't a place for me anymore. when i go back, the place seems small and dark and dirty. now i go back for one of two things, either for food or to pick up my mail. i think this feeling is normal, healthy, but i can't help but to feel a little sad that a place i've called home for so long now doesn't feel like home anymore. i still love the bathroom though. i've studied the tiles on the floor, know where everything is in relation to everything else, how the toilet flushes, the water pressure in the shower, if nothing else, that bathroom will always feel like home to me.